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Fox & Friends “Trouble With Textbooks” Return Engagement – Texas Edition

Reported by Priscilla - March 8, 2010 -

He’a baaack. This morning Fox & Friends hosted Professor Larry Schweikart, who last year provided a partisan look at the evil, librul textbooks that are corrupting the youth of America. He appeared in a Fox & Friends ongoing special called “The Trouble With Textbooks” – a troubling series in that it combined right wing revisionist history with attacks on various publishers of evil, librul textbooks. Schweikart was the main man – literally – as no other opposing views were offered. Well, he’s baaack and opining on Texas textbooks which, if the Christian Texas right get their way, will be bizarro world textbooks in which evolution will be considered “junk science,” conservative heroes such as Newt Gingrich and Phyllis Schlafley will replace folks like Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez, and overriding all will be the America as Christian nation thing. Not surprisingly, Fox & Friends is on it.

Steve Doocy introduced University of Dayton Professor, Larry Schweikart and noted that Schweikart is the author of “48 Liberal Lies” – no bias there, no sireee. The graphic of Schweikart’s book cover was shown. Doocy explained that, as far as textbooks, what happens in Texas doesn’t stay there as Texas is one of the biggest purchasers of books in the country and, as such, the books bought by Texas set the publishing standards for books distributed nationwide. Schweikart agreed. He added that what is put into Texas textbooks is geared to the Texas curriculum which will be debated later this week. Doocy launched into propaganda mode when he alleged that there has been some talk about “getting rid of Robert E Lee and replacing him with Malcom X. Throw somebody else out. Get rid of Daniel Boon.” He added the perfunctory right wing talking point, “Why can’t we just learn about everybody? Why do they pick and choose because it looks political?” (Kinda like your show, Steve?) Schweikart agreed with the scripted question. He said that “anytime the government in education, you’re going to have the government tell the teachers what to teach. You can’t get away with it. Left or right, that’s the result of public education." He noted that there is limited time to teach material and that somebody is always going to be upset. Doocy said that they will be following what is happening in Texas.

Comment: While Schweikart didn’t engage in the partisan rhetoric engaged in by Doocy, the stage is being set for a discussion of what’s happening in Texas vis-à-vis textbooks. Last week, there was a GOP primary election for members of the Texas Board of Education – the group who control content of Texas textbooks and who have already have made changes to science, history, and English curriculum standards. The good news is that the ultra right wing, creationist Don McElroy was defeated by a more moderate candidate (who alleged that McElroy had "politicized" education) and that means that the conservative block of board members is now down to 7 out of 15. But this week, the proposed changes, sought by social conservatives to the textbooks, will be debated. And while Doocy claims that Robert E Lee will be replaced by the evil (gasp) black, Malcom X, the reality is that the changes, already in place, include an emphasis on conservatives leader like Schlafley, the role of religion in the founding of America, and the portrayal of Senator Joe McCarthy as a positive force. The NY Times has a lengthy, but fascinating look into the strange stuff that is emanating from the right side of the aisle in the textbook debate. It should be noted that two curriculum “advisors” to the Texas Board are “Peter Marshall, a Massachusetts-based preacher who has argued that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were God’s punishment for tolerating gays” and David Barton, the founder of WallBuilders, a conservative Christian advocacy group, who believes that American laws should be based on the Bible and that judges who are opposed by Christian conservatives should be impeached. He also says that the evolution debate is “the death struggle between civilizations.” So, fasten your seatbelts because it looks like we’re in for a rough ride. This week’s “Trouble With Textbooks” should be very, very interesting. Stay tuned.